Syria's Biggest Companies
The Syrian economy is under relatively strict state control, although the government has been making moves to make it easier for private companies to succeed in the country, although the public sector is still very important and can act as an impediment to economic growth. Other problems facing the economy in Syria include the declining production of oil and the rapidly growing population, which is paired with rising unemployment.
The financial and banking sector in Syria depends a great deal on the state. There are six specialist state owned banks operating in Syria, including the Central Bank and the Commercial Bank of Syria. The Commercial Bank is one of the largest banks operating in the country.
Agriculture and oil are the two most important sectors of the Syrian economy. Together, they produce about 50 percent of the country's GDP. Tourism is also an important part of the economy and one which offers excellent potential for growth. Services produce about 42 percent of Syria's GDP and employ almost 40 percent of the workforce.
Bena Properties is the largest real estate developer in Syria. It is a subsidiary of Cham Holding. Bena Properties has been particularly closely involved in developing the tourism sector in Syria. Cham Palaces and Hotels run a large chain of hotels in Syria, and it has also expanded its services in Jordan.
Manufacturing, mining, petroleum and construction together provide employment for approximately 30 percent of the Syrian workforce and they produce almost 30 percent of the country's GDP. Syria's most important industrial products are petroleum, phosphates, textiles, tobacco, beverages and processed foods. Syria produces over 2 million tons of phosphates every year.
The development of the agricultural sector is very important for the future of Syria, since it employs approximately 30 percent of the workforce. The current success of agriculture in the country is derived largely due to the high proportion of privately owned land. Syrian agriculture also benefits from a high level of irrigation.
Commercial oil production in Syria began during the 1960s, but oil did not begin to be exported until the 1980s. Syria is not considered to be one of the major oil exporters in the Middle East, but oil still plays a very important role in the country's economy. However, it is expected that Syria will become a net importer of oil within the next ten years, unless it can find an alternative source of power. It is possible that Syria will begin to rely more on its reserves of natural gas for power production as its oil reserves begin to be depleted.
The state owned Syrian Petroleum Company plays an important role in the Syrian petroleum industry. It has a number of subsidiaries including the Amrit, Awda and Dujla Petroleum Companies, the Kawkab Oil Company, the Deir Ezzor Petroleum Company and Hayyan. The Syrian Petroleum Company also owns a 50 percent share in the Al Furat Petroleum Company, which is the largest oil producer in Syria. In addition to its oil, Syria also has large reserves of natural gas, most of which are owned by the Syrian Petroleum Company. Syria's natural gas production is primarily for domestic use.